Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 4 December 2017

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This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM continued to record a similarly high number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region as in the previous 24 hours. It recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in Siedove, a settlement close to the border with the Russian Federation.* The SMM corroborated reports of a civilian casualty in Verkhnotoretske. It observed damage to civilian properties from shelling in residential areas in Holmivskyi and impact sites at the Donetsk Filtration Station. The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The SMM visited a border area not under government control. In Kyiv, the SMM continued to monitor the security situation outside a television station.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded a similarly high number of ceasefire violations,[1] including explosions (about 590), as in the previous 24 hours (about 600 explosions). Most of the ceasefire violations were recorded in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area, and in areas between Horlivka, Debaltseve and Svitlodarsk.

On the night of 3-4 December, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in a sequence continuing from the previous 24 hours, 21 tracer rounds in flight from north-east to south-west, 13 undetermined explosions, and three projectiles and three tracer rounds from west to east, followed by totals of 15 undetermined explosions, 22 projectiles (three from west to east and 19 from east to west) and 84 tracer rounds (63 from east to west and 21 from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south. During the day on 4 December, the same camera recorded 83 projectiles (21 from west to east, 44 from east to west, 14 from south to northerly directions and four from north to south) and nine undetermined explosions, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening of 3 December, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded four projectiles in flight from east to west and two undetermined explosions, all 4-6km east-south-east. During the day on 4 December, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka for about six hours, the SMM heard 76 undetermined explosions and about 100 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-5km east and south-south-east.

During the day on 4 December, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard about 120 undetermined explosions and more than 150 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km west-south-west, west and north-west.

On the evening of 3 December, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 45 undetermined explosions and more than 120 bursts and shots from various types of weapons (calibre less than 100mm), all 3-10km east, south-east and south-west. While in Svitlodarsk the following day, the SMM heard 38 undetermined explosions, as well as bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-6km south-east and south-west.

On the evening of 3 December, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard at least 95 explosions (31 assessed as rounds of tank fire and the remainder of undetermined weapons), about 120 bursts from rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (30mm), heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, as well as five two-minute sequences of uncountable, overlapping bursts of anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) cannon (23mm), IFV (BMP-2) cannon, automatic-grenade-launcher and small-arms fire, all 3-12km south-west and west-south-west.

During the day on 4 December, positioned 2km west of “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard, during about one hour, about 110 explosions (at least 15 assessed as probable impacts of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) rounds and the remainder as undetermined), all 10-15km west-north-west and north-west.

On the night of 3-4 December, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in a sequence continuing from the previous 24 hours, five tracer rounds in flight from west to east, an undetermined explosion, a tracer round from west to east, and 47 projectiles and 11 tracer rounds from east to west, followed by totals of 47 tracer rounds (seven from west to east and 40 from east to west), 67 projectiles from east to west and an undetermined explosion, all 5-8km north.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 83 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (about 340).

On the night of 3-4 December, while on the northern edge of government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 explosions (five assessed as artillery rounds and the remainder undetermined) 10-15km south-west. The SMM also heard 59 explosions (eight assessed as outgoing rocket-propelled-grenades, four assessed as outgoing and two as impacts of mortar rounds and the rest as rounds from IFV (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire), as well as more than 100 bursts and shots of automatic-grenade-launcher, heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-5km east and south-east.

During the day on 4 December, positioned at the south-eastern edge of Popasna, the SMM heard, during over 20 minutes, 120-150 overlapping bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-2.5km east.

Positioned at the south-eastern edge of “LPR”-controlled Veselohorivka (64km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions 10-15km north.

The SMM confirmed reports of a civilian casualty in government-controlled Verkhnotoretske (23km north-east of Donetsk). Medical staff at a hospital in government-controlled Toretsk (formerly Dzerzhynsk, 43km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that a woman had been admitted on 2 December with a gunshot wound in her right lower leg. The mother of the patient told the SMM that her 31-year-old daughter had been walking with her husband along Vyshnova Street in Verkhnotoretske during the day on 2 December when they had heard gunfire. She added that her daughter had been hit by a bullet while trying to seek shelter in a shop nearby.

The SMM observed fresh impact sites at the Donetsk Filtration Station as well as damage caused by shelling in residential areas in “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk).

At the Donetsk Filtration Station, the Mission observed three fresh impact sites. The SMM saw a tailfin of a 120mm mortar round embedded in the south side of the tarmac road immediately inside the main entrance gate, which it assessed as fired from a south-south-easterly direction. While present, the SMM saw a member of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service pull out the tailfin. A second impact was on the concrete surface outside the garage building, 20m east of the first impact site, which the SMM assessed as caused by a mortar round fired from a south-south-easterly direction. About 5m north, the SMM saw broken south-facing windows of the garage building and shrapnel damage to windows of a tractor that was inside the garage. A third impact site was on a small patch of grass 10m west of the office building (on top of which the SMM camera is located) and 15m north-west of the garage. The SMM could not assess the type of weapon or the direction of fire.

The SMM also saw an unexploded round from an under-barrel grenade launcher (VOG-25P) about 6m west of the office building which had been cordoned off by staff of the station and later removed by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service staff.

In Holmivskyi, following reports of shelling on the night of 2-3 December, the SMM saw a fresh crater on the ground 1.5m east of a two-storey apartment building on 4 Shkolnyi Avenue, assessed as caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a northerly direction. The SMM observed boarded up windows and fresh shrapnel marks on an east-facing wall and on the gas pipes of the building, which had since been repaired. According to the owner, shelling had occurred around midnight on 3 December, but there had been no casualties.

The SMM continued to engage with the sides and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) to try and gain access to Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk). On the road between Travneve and nearby Hladosove (51km north-east of Donetsk), several residents from both villages separately told the SMM that they did not need permits to pass through government and “DPR” checkpoints between these two villages and Holmivskyi. Two groups of residents from Hladosove separately told the SMM that there were no shops or medical points in the village, forcing residents to either buy necessary items in Holmivskyi and transport them by bicycle or on foot (a distance of at least 2km), or to leave the village. They also alleged that there were mines placed in Hladosove and on the main road to Holmivskyi.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

On 1 December, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded, in sequence, seven tracer rounds in flight from west to east, five undetermined explosions, a tracer round in flight from south-east to north-west, a projectile in flight from north to south, and 15 tracer rounds in flight from east to west, all 0.5-2km south, south-west and west. The SMM assessed ten of the above ceasefire violations as inside the disengagement area but was unable to assess the remainder. On 2 December, the same camera recorded totals of 28 tracer rounds in flight (27 from west to east and one from north-east to south-west) and 49 undetermined explosions, all 1-2km south-south-west and west-south-west, and all assessed as inside the disengagement area.

On 4 December, positioned near the disengagement areas near Petrivske, and government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

In violation of withdrawal lines, in government-controlled areas, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted, on 2 December, five towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) near Kremenivka (78km south of Donetsk). On 4 December, the SMM saw a tank (T-62) without a turret or weapons east of Popasna, heading south.

In violation of withdrawal lines, in non-government-controlled areas, an SMM mini UAV spotted, on 1 December, 16 MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) north of Khrustalnyi (54km south-west of Luhansk) and seven probable MLRS (BM-21) south-east of Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted, on 2 December, three surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa) near Kasianivka (81km south of Donetsk). On 4 December, the SMM saw two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) on flatbed trucks, heading south near Zarichne (formerly Kirovsk, 114km north of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw, on 4 December, a tank (T-64) between Markyne (94km south of Donetsk) and Oleksandrivske (formerly Rozy Liuksemburh, 90km south-east of Donetsk). On 1 December, an SMM mini UAV spotted 17 towed howitzers (nine 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm; eight 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) north of Khrustalnyi, as well as six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and nine tanks (type unknown) south-east of Miusynsk. At the latter location were also over 50 armoured combat vehicles (ACV), 26 military-type trucks, and about 60 other military-type vehicles.

The SMM revisited a “DPR” weapons permanent storage site located beyond the agreed withdrawal lines and found that all weapons that had previously been recorded as withdrawn were present.

The SMM observed ACVs[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-80) near Mykolaivka (57km north of Donetsk). On 2 December, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted four probable APCs (BTR-variant) near Kremenivka.

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw an APC (MT-LB) near Kalmiuske (formerly Komsomolske, 42km south-east of Donetsk) in a zone within which deployment of heavy armaments and military equipment is proscribed according to Point 5 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014, as well as a stationary IFV (BMP-1) near Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM saw, for the first time, a mine hazard sign reading “stop, mines” in Russian language – white letters on a red background – placed at the entrance of a dirt track on the south side of road T0509, 6km east-south-east of “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the JCCC, to the power substation in “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk) and to the water pumping station near government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk).

The SMM visited a border area not under government control. At the border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), during about half an hour, the SMM saw 23 cars (including eight with “DPR” plates) and a cargo truck with closed trailer, with Ukrainian licence plates, exiting Ukraine. The SMM also saw nine cars (including two with “DPR” plates) and two buses, with Russian Federation licence plates and 20-30 passengers each, entering Ukraine.

In Kyiv, the SMM continued to monitor the situation outside a television station on 21 Polova Street (see SMM Daily Report 4 December 2017). The SMM saw 15 men aged 25-35 (two in military-style and the rest in plain clothes), a few of them wearing face covers. The SMM also observed a “black and red” flag and a Ukrainian flag near a parked van. The SMM saw barbed wire and sandbags placed in front of the main entrance of the building, but the side doors were not blocked. The SMM saw a police car parked nearby and three police officers. The situation was calm.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Chernivtsi.